Friday, December 2, 2011

Bedlam Bar-B-Q

OKLAHOMA: Bedlam Bar-B-Q
610 NE 50th
Oklahoma City, OK 73105


Open M-W 10:30-8, Thur-F 10:30-9, Sat 10:30-8

Update: It's been a couple of years since my last visit to Bedlam Bar-B-Q in Oklahoma City, and plenty has changed. They've expanded the restaurant, completed a renovation and expansion of their back patio, and lowered the quality of their barbecue. I'm not sure if there has been an ownership or pitmaster change, but the meat has suffered.

Bright red, cayenne filled hot dog passed off as hot links are about what can be expected in Oklahoma, and they are no different here. It's too bad that this is acceptable since there are some decent commercial hot links available out there.

The same big spare ribs are on the menu, but they have a too-heavy rub and haven't spent enough time in the smoker. The meat was a bit chilly and chewy. Sausage was a cheaply made fatty link with little character. The worst of the bunch was the sad looking brisket. Thick slices from the point were riddled with poorly rendered and chewy fat. All crust and smokering had been cut away, and what remained had little smokiness remaining. Maybe I just hit them on a great day a couple years back, but this revisit was very disappointing.

One other note: the addition of the patio allowed me to gain access to the pit room where I found a gleaming Southern Pride rotisserie pit and a pile of chopped hickory wood. There wasn't much smoke coming out of the stack above.

Rating **

Bedlam Bar-B-Q is a relative newcomer to OKC, but they've got this smokin' thing down pat. The menu is a little wider than BBQ to allow those 'cue hating burger eaters to join you on your trek. Orders are taken at the counter just inside the door, then brought to your table while you enjoy the entertainment on their flat screens usually tuned to sports.

My brother-in-law, an OKC native and current resident, was the tour guide for this trek, and we split a three meat "Big Red Dinner". The obvious brisket and ribs were paired with pulled pork on the staff's recommendation. They were sold out of their first choice of turkey. Sides are an adventure here with thirteen options that include some unfamiliar ones like tabouli salad and green rice. We opted for tabouli salad that could have been refreshing with a bit less Italian dressing and parmesan cheese, and a mac & cheese that tasted like it was right out of the Stouffer's box.

The meat fared much better. True "pulled" pork is something of a rarity with most options being simply chopped, so seeing the strands of meat and crust on this plate was promising. The pork was very moist with great flavor, if a bit on the salty side. The mixture of fat, crust and nicely cooked pork created textural perfection. Brisket had great moisture and adequate smoke at the crust, but little inside each slice. Too much of the fat was trimmed away, but there was still some great flavor remaining. All of the meats on the plate were good, but the spare ribs really stood out. Perfectly moist and tender meat sat beneath a hearty black crust. All of the meat had great smoke flavor and well rendered fat throughout, and the meat needed just the slightest tug to release from the bone. This was one great rib.

Bedlam Bar-B-Q may not have a long history in OKC, but if they keep smoking like this, they'll be around for a long time to come.

Bedlam Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon


jw71557 said...

Tried Bedlam BBQ on recommendation from friends, quality of food, service, and atmosphere good. But portion size small and disappointing as well as overpriced for what came on the plate. $2.39 for a glass of tea? C'mon...

OKBBQEA said...

I have to agree with JW.

And the day I was there the ribs were a little tough.

LTalley said...

6/15/12 Got a Rib Dinner to go the hostess was not friendly at all almost rude the BBQ was very good in my opinion and the potatoe salad and baked beans were awful. If the hostess would have been friendly or even acted liked she appreciated my business i would probably went back and tried some other things on the menu. As it is never!!!


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.